Ezone.com's Galactic Gunner [App Store] just was released following an epic launch promotion of the likes I've never seen for an iPhone game. At WWDC, I sat down with developer Simon Edis, who laid the whole plan down for me, and it has been remarkable watching it unfold.
Via the Galactic Captain forums account, the Edis brothers orchestrated an alternate reality game, where forum members assisted the Captain in solving various puzzles left by the Trepidoids, your enemy in the game. Starting with a simple URL hidden in a Twitter feed, the Galactic Captain eventually lead the "Cadets" he had recruited in the thread to a set of GPS coordinates to find an actual CD that was hidden on the outskirts of San Francisco.
Just when the Cadets thought the Galactic Captain was in the clear, the Trepidoids went and stole the game, starting the last phase of the promotion where forum members were invited to create images and videos based on the Trepidoids, with the best entry winning the Captain's iPod Touch.
We got our hands on a preview build quite a while ago, and very much enjoyed the game while it lasted. As the title would hint, you play as the Galactic Gunner, shooting down Trepidoids by tapping the screen while the Galactic Captain flies the ship. Taking the control out of the player's hands allows for a more cinematic experience as your ship flies through precisely choreographed manuevers.
All the while, you're listening to near constant radio chatter between the Galactic Captain, your wingmen, and the Trepidoids. The whole package creates an experience unlike anything on the App Store, and the game feels like playing an episode of a wonderfully cheesy low-budget 80's Sci-Fi show, especially whenever the Trepidoids speak.
The main downside to Galactic Gunner is the amount of playtime. When I say it's like playing an episode of a Sci-Fi show, I mean it, as completing the game takes around a half hour. There is an achievement system with 15 different medals to unlock, so there should be some replay value. Still, even with the short playtime, the overall experience of Galactic Gunner is likely worth the 99¢ asking price.
App Store Link: Galactic Gunner, 99¢